Shakespeare and the Supernatural

A Brief Study of Folklore, Superstition, and Witchcraft in 'Macbeth,' 'Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'The Tempest,'
Author: Margaret Lucy,William Jaggard
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: N.A
Category: Folklore
Page: 36
View: 4584

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Shakespeare's use of the supernatural in Hamlet and Macbeth


Author: Merissa Bartlett
Publisher: GRIN Verlag
ISBN: 3656609608
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 10
View: 822

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Essay from the year 2013 in the subject English - History of Literature, Eras, grade: 80.00, Memorial University of Newfoundland, course: English 3200, language: English, abstract: Witchcraft and the supernatural has been a prevalent theme throughout theatre history, having many plays involving issues of witches, wizards, magic, ghosts, and other mysticisms. The world’s most famous playwright, William Shakespeare, who wrote during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, was definitely no stranger to otherworldly premises. The ghost of the old king in Hamlet and the Weird Sisters in Macbeth are central to the plays’ plots, they are a major force in determining the two heroes’ actions, form the plays’ opening scenes, and they are an important element in establishing the plays’ atmosphere.

Supernatural Environments in Shakespeare's England

Spaces of Demonism, Divinity, and Drama
Author: Kristen Poole
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139497650
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: N.A
View: 1427

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Bringing together recent scholarship on religion and the spatial imagination, Kristen Poole examines how changing religious beliefs and transforming conceptions of space were mutually informative in the decades around 1600. Supernatural Environments in Shakespeare's England explores a series of cultural spaces that focused attention on interactions between the human and the demonic or divine: the deathbed, purgatory, demonic contracts and their spatial surround, Reformation cosmologies and a landscape newly subject to cartographic surveying. It examines the seemingly incongruous coexistence of traditional religious beliefs and new mathematical, geometrical ways of perceiving the environment. Arguing that the late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century stage dramatized the phenomenological tension that resulted from this uneasy confluence, this groundbreaking study considers the complex nature of supernatural environments in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and Shakespeare's Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth and The Tempest.

Shakespeare and the Outer Mystery


Author: Robert H. West
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
ISBN: 0813165113
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 216
View: 8887

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Shakespeare has been viewed by critics both as a secular writer who affirmed the dual nature of man and as a Christian allegorist whose work has a submerged but positive and elaborate pattern of Christian meaning. In Shakespeare and the Outer Mystery, Robert H. West explores the philosophical and supernatural elements of five Shakespearean dramas -- Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and The Tempest. Through his analysis, West discovers Shakespeare's respect for the mysteries of existence but no clear definition of the philosophical and moral context of his play worlds. An artistic motivation leads Shakespeare to use these elements ambiguously to create a dramatic effect rather than to teach a moral or ideological lesson.

Scare Quotes from Shakespeare

Marx, Keynes, and the Language of Reenchantment
Author: Martin Harries
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804736213
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 209
View: 944

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This book argues that moments of allusion to the supernatural in Shakespeare are occasions where Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes register the perseverance of haunted structures in modern culture. This "reenchantment," at the heart of modernity and of literary and political works central to our understanding of modernity, is the focus of this book. The author shows that allusion to supernatural moments in Shakespeare ("scare quotes") allows writers to both acknowledge and distance themselves from the supernatural phenomena that challenge their disenchanted understanding of the social world. He also uses these modern appropriations of Shakespeare as provocations to reread some of his works, notably Hamlet and Macbeth. Two pairs of linked chapters form the center of the book. One pair joins a reading of Marx, concentrating on The Eighteenth Brumaire, to Hamlet; the other links a reading of Keynes, focusing on The Economic Consequences of the Peace, to Macbeth. The chapters on Marx and Keynes trace some of the strange circuits of supernatural rhetoric in their work, Marx's use of ghosts and Keynes's fascination with witchcraft. The sequence linking Marx to Hamlet, for example, has as its anchor the Frankfurt School's concept of the phantasmagoria, the notion that it is in the most archaic that one encounters the figure of the new. Looking closely at Marx's association of the Ghost in Hamlet with the coming revolution in turn illuminates Hamlet's association of the Ghost with the supernatural beings many believed haunted mines. An opening chapter discusses Henry Dircks, a nineteenth-century English inventor who developed—and then lost his claim to—a phantasmagoria or machine to project ghosts on stage. Dircks resorted to magical rhetoric in response to his loss, which is emblematic for the book as a whole, charting ways the scare quote can, paradoxically, continue the work of enlightenment.

The Alchemist

A Comedy
Author: Ben Jonson
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN: 9781502452030
Category:
Page: 204
View: 5174

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The Alchemist - A Comedy by Ben Jonson. The Alchemist is a comedy by English playwright Ben Jonson. First performed in 1610 by the King's Men, it is generally considered Jonson's best and most characteristic comedy; Samuel Taylor Coleridge claimed that it had one of the three most perfect plots in literature. The play's clever fulfilment of the classical unities and vivid depiction of human folly have made it one of the few Renaissance plays (except the works of Shakespeare) with a continuing life on stage (except for a period of neglect during the Victorian era). The Alchemist premiered 34 years after the first permanent public theatre (The Theatre) opened in London; it is, then, a product of the early maturity of commercial drama in London. Only one of the University wits who had transformed drama in the Elizabethan period remained alive (this was Thomas Lodge); in the other direction, the last great playwright to flourish before the Interregnum, James Shirley, was already a teenager. The theatres had survived the challenge mounted by the city and religious authorities; plays were a regular feature of life at court and for a great number of Londoners. The venue for which Jonson apparently wrote his play reflects this newly solid acceptance of theatre as a fact of city life. In 1597, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (aka the King's Men) had been denied permission to use the theatre in Blackfriars as a winter playhouse because of objections from the neighbourhood's influential residents. Some time between 1608 and 1610, the company, now the King's Men, reassumed control of the playhouse, this time without objections. Their delayed premiere on this stage within the city walls, along with royal patronage, marks the ascendance of this company in the London play-world (Gurr, 171). The Alchemist was among the first plays chosen for performance at the theatre. Jonson's play reflects this new confidence. In it, he applies his classical conception of drama to a setting in contemporary London for the first time, with invigorating results. The classical elements, most notably the relation between Lovewit and Face, are fully modernised; likewise, the depiction of Jacobean London is given order and direction by the classical understanding of comedy as a means to expose vice and foolishness to ridicule.

Daemonologie


Author: King James I of England
Publisher: Library of Alexandria
ISBN: 1465514139
Category: Demonology
Page: N.A
View: 3988

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The Discoverie of Witchcraft


Author: Reginald Scot
Publisher: Courier Corporation
ISBN: 0486260305
Category: History
Page: 282
View: 2256

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16th-century classic debunks witchcraft but offers remarkable primary source of information on witchcraft, witch trials, practice of the black arts. Introduction by Montague Summers. 17 illustrations.

Witches and Jesuits

Shakespeare's Macbeth
Author: Garry Wills
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 0195102908
Category: Mathematics
Page: 223
View: 4432

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Drawing on his intimate knowledge of the vivid intrigue and drama of Jacobean England, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Lincoln at Gettysburg" restores Macbeth's suspenseful tension by returning it to the context of its own time, recreating the burning theological and political crises of Shakespeare's era.

Revelation in Shakespeare

a study of the supernatural, religious and spiritual elements in his art
Author: Robert William Sigismund Mendl
Publisher: N.A
ISBN: N.A
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 223
View: 5998

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Supernatural and Secular Power in Early Modern England


Author: Marcus Harmes,Victoria Bladen
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317048377
Category: History
Page: 250
View: 4386

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For the people of early modern England, the dividing line between the natural and supernatural worlds was both negotiable and porous - particularly when it came to issues of authority. Without a precise separation between ’science’ and ’magic’ the realm of the supernatural was a contested one, that could be used both to bolster and challenge various forms of authority and the exercise of power in early modern England. In order to better understand these issues, this volume addresses a range of questions regarding the ways in which ideas, beliefs and constructions of the supernatural threatened and conflicted with authority, as well as how the power of the supernatural could be used by authorities (monarchical, religious, legal or familial) to reinforce established social norms. Drawing upon a range of historical, literary and dramatic texts the collection reveals intersecting early modern anxieties in relation to the supernatural, issues of control and the exercise of power at different levels of society, from the upper echelons of power at court to local and domestic spaces, and in a range of publication contexts - manuscript sources, printed prose texts and the early modern stage. Divided into three sections - ’Magic at Court’, ’Performance, Text and Language’ and ’Witchcraft, the Devil and the Body’ - the volume offers a broad cultural approach to the subject that reflects current research by a range of early modern scholars from the disciplines of history and literature. By bringing scholars into an interdisciplinary dialogue, the case studies presented here generate fresh insights within and between disciplines and different methodologies and approaches, which are mutually illuminating.

The Influence of the Audiences’ Supernatural Belief in "Hamlet" and "Macbeth"

A Comparison
Author: Jonas Heidger
Publisher: GRIN Verlag
ISBN: 3668345864
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 11
View: 2755

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Seminar paper from the year 2015 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2,0, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, language: English, abstract: "Hamlet" and "Macbeth" are two of Shakespeare’s most successful and greatest tragedies. One reason why this can safely be said, is that both tragedies are two of the greatest written by Shakespeare and both are some of the most written about plays in all Western literature. Given the great interest, that has scholars and critics captured and fascinated to continue writing and interpreting every character, theme, and every turn of events throughout the years. Both tragedies have much in common, as they open in the country in which the action took place, with a reigning monarchy, which is threatened from both interior and exterior of the country, as the murder of a king and the approach of an enemy armament, are at the center of both plots. The murderer in both plays is a kinsman of the king, occupying the throne out of greed for power but is being punished by death at the end of the tragedy. Both plays are located abroad, as "Hamlet" is placed in medieval Denmark and "Macbeth" in medieval Scotland. But what these plays have most in common is that the supernatural is playing a key role. The ghost of the old King in "Hamlet" and the three witches in "Macbeth" are determining the two protagonists’ actions and the establishment of the plays’ atmosphere from the outset. The supernatural in both plays was influenced by beliefs prevalent during Shakespeare’s lifetime.

Enchantment and Dis-enchantment in Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama

Wonder, the Sacred, and the Supernatural
Author: Nandini Das,Nick Davis
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317290674
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 202
View: 8363

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This volume addresses dealings with the wondrous, magical, holy, sacred, sainted, numinous, uncanny, auratic, and sacral in the plays of Shakespeare and contemporaries, produced in an era often associated with the irresistible rise of a thinned-out secular rationalism. By starting from the literary text and looking outwards to social, cultural, and historical aspects, it comes to grips with the instabilities of ‘enchanted’ and ‘disenchanted’ practices of thinking and knowledge-making in the early modern period. If what marvelously stands apart from conceptions of the world’s ordinary functioning might be said to be ‘enchanted’, is the enchantedness weakened, empowered, or modally altered by its translation to theatre? We have a received historical narrative of disenchantment as a large-scale early modern cultural process, inexorable in character, consisting of the substitution of a rationally understood and controllable world for one containing substantial areas of mystery. Early modern cultural change, however, involves transpositions, recreations, or fresh inventions of the enchanted, and not only its replacement in diminished or denatured form. This collection is centrally concerned with what happens in theatre, as a medium which can give power to experiences of wonder as well as circumscribe and curtail them, addressing plays written for the popular stage that contribute to and reflect significant contemporary reorientations of vision, awareness, and cognitive practice. The volume uses the idea of dis-enchantment/re-enchantment as a central hub to bring multiple perspectives to bear on early modern conceptualizations and theatricalizations of wonder, the sacred, and the supernatural from different vantage points, marking a significant contribution to studies of magic, witchcraft, enchantment, and natural philosophy in Shakespeare and early modern drama.

Shakespeare and Memory


Author: Hester Lees-Jeffries
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199674256
Category: Literary Criticism
Page: 228
View: 4096

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Hamlet's father's Ghost asks his son to 'Remember me!', but how did people remember around 1600? And how do we remember now? Shakespeare and Memory brings together classical and early modern sources, theatre history, performance, material culture, and cognitive psychology and neuroscience in order to explore ideas about memory in Shakespeare's plays and poems. It argues that, when Shakespeare was writing, ideas about memory were undergoing a kind of crisis, as both the technologies of memory (print, the theatre itself) and the belief structures underpinning ideas about memory underwent rapid change. And it suggests that this crisis might be mirrored in our own time, when, despite all the increasing gadgetry at our disposal, memory can still be recovered, falsified, corrupted, or wiped: only we ourselves can remember, but the workings of memory remain mysterious. Shakespeare and Memory draws on works from all stages of Shakespeare's career, with a particular focus on Hamlet, the Sonnets, Twelfth Night, and The Winter's Tale. It considers some little things: what's Hamlet writing on? And why does Orsino think he smells violets? And it asks some big questions: how should the dead be remembered? What's the relationship between memory and identity? And is it art, above all, that enables love and beauty, memory and identity, to endure in the face of loss, time, and death?

Faith in Shakespeare


Author: Richard C. McCoy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190218657
Category: Drama
Page: 194
View: 9774

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Speculation about Shakespeare's own religious beliefs and responses to the Reformation have dominated discussions of faith in the playwright's work for decades. As a result, we often lose sight of what's truly important-the plays themselves. By focusing on those plays in several succinct, fluently written chapters, Richard McCoy reminds us of the spell-binding power inherent in works like Othello, As You Like It, and The Winter's Tale and shows why they continue to cause audiences to gladly exercise what Samuel Taylor Coleridge called the "willing suspension of disbelief." Faith in Shakespeare ruminates on what it means to believe in the Bard's plays, exploring how their plots can be both preposterous and gripping, and how their characters seem more substantial and enduring than the people surrounding us in the theater. Informed by Coleridge's "poetic faith," the book discusses what this concept shares with religious faith and how it departs from recent historicist approaches to the dramatist's work. Faith in Shakespeare concentrates more on text than context, finding the afterlife of Shakespeare's language more vivid and engaging than theological controversies. The book confirms its convictions in literature's intrinsic powers by exploring the causes for our paradoxical belief in theater's potent but manifest illusions. Plays that ask their audience to "awake your faith" or "believe then, if you please" ultimately enable us to "mind true things by what their mockeries be." Rather than faith in God or the supernatural, McCoy argues that faith in Shakespeare is sustained and explained only by the complex, subtle, and entirely human power of poetic eloquence and dramatic performance.